The Jewish Chronicle

Funding service drops Palestinia­n charity

- BY ROSA DOHERTY

AN ONLINE funding platform has withdrawn its services from a Palestinia­n charity that has been accused of having links to Hamas.

Interpal can no longer use MyDonate, which is BT’s not-for-profit online fundraisin­g service for UK Charities.

MyDonate withdrew its services after UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) wrote to Visa and Mastercard, the credit card companies linked to the service, saying Interpal is designated a foreign terrorist organisati­on in the US. It has been designated as a terrorist entity by the US Department of the Treasury since 2003.

It is classed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT), which means that any of its assets in the US must be frozen, and that transactio­ns with US nationals are prohibited.

It is also listed as a terrorism financing entity in Canada but the Charity Commission allows Interpal to operate in the UK legally.

UKLFI director Caroline Turner said: “We are pleased that BT and the credit card companies have complied with US law.”

A BT spokespers­on said: “We have been obliged to remove Interpal from the list of charitable organisati­ons able to receive donations via our MyDonate platform, due to Interpal’s status as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organisati­on under US law and in order to protect the fundraisin­g ability of the many charities that depend on our service.”

Interpal had a large presence on MyDonate platform promoting several fundraisin­g campaigns.

A spokespers­on said: “Interpal is a British, UK-registered charity which has a long history of providing humanitari­an and emergency relief to Palestinia­ns in desperate need, for which it has been commended by politician­s on all sides of the Houses of Parliament, fellow aid agencies and the UN Relief and Works Agency, with whom it is regarded as a valued partner.

“The Charity Commission has investigat­ed and cleared Interpal with regard to false allegation­s, and our designatio­n has been cited as baseless on countless occasions; therefore we are in an ongoing process to have it lifted. For these reasons, any campaign to hinder or prevent our work is outrageous, disappoint­ing and harms our beneficiar­ies.”

The charity, which is regulated by the Charities Commission, describes itself as “non-political” and working to support the most vulnerable.”

It states: “We exist to empower Palestinia­ns to face their challenges and hardships in our principal areas of operation: the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon.”

Any campaign to hinder our work is outrageous’

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